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De Kock A J   Pte   853

Page history last edited by Lenore Frost 8 years, 8 months ago

Volunteers of Essendon and Flemington, 1914-1918


De Kock A J   Pte    853    Albert John       37 Inf Bn    41    Jeweller    Single    R C        

Address:    Kensington, Pridham St, 24    

Next of Kin:    De Kock, Mary Josephine, Mrs, mother, 24 Pridham St, Kensington    

Enlisted:    2 Mar 1916        

Embarked:     A34 Persic 3 Jun 1916



Date of death: 20/12/1919 

At 75 Eastwood St, Kensington. 



Pte Albert John De Kock


by Lenore Frost



De Kock disembarked in Plymouth on 28 July 1916.  On 15 Sep 1916 he proceeded overseas to France, joining a Base Depot at Etaples.  He was transferred to the 5th Battalion on 6 October.  By the end of the month he was admitted to hospital suffering from chronic pains in side.  Men of his age typically succumbed to illness on active service.  On 5 Nov 1916 he was admitted to 12 General Hospital with Trench Fever,   From this point he moved through various convalescent hospitals, and was returned to England.    After a period in hospital with Trench Fever he moved through various camps in England, including training at Perham Downs, and was again sent to France on 10 Jun 1917.  He joined his unit in France on 30 Jun 17, and a fortnight later was temporarily attached to the ASC. On 11 Aug 1917 he was again admitted to hospital with cellulitis in the leg.  He returned to his unit on 11 Aug 1917, but again admitted to hospital on 30 Aug 1917 with rheumatism. On 30 Sep 1917 he was returned to England.   A couple of months later he returned to Australia and discharged on 1 Feb 1918.  His medical report showed "Over age", rheumatism and thickened arteries. (National Archives of Australia, B2455)


Albert de Kock returned to his family home where his invalid widowed mother and unmarried sister Marguerite struggled on a low income. Marguerite ran a small private school called "Sydenham".  This had changed locations on a few occasions, but in 1918 was adjacent to the family home at 25 Eastwood Street, Kensington. The school was a primary school which taught drawing and fencing as a point of difference from the State Schools.  The average attendance was in the vicinity of 50 pupils.  Her sister Netta had helped in the school before her marriage in 1915, and may have been helping after her marriage.


During the period between 1900 and 1920 the Education Department had been resolutely raising the standards required of private school, which forced many of them to close.  Marguerite de Kock struggled to keep her school going in the face of inadequate buildings.


At the end of 19 Miss de Kock sent a letter to the Department dated 16 Dec 1919 from Sydenham, 75 Eastwood St,  Kensington.   She stated that she was unable to do alterations to the building because for 13 weeks at the beginning of the year the school was closed in accordance with influenza restrictions and earned not one penny for part of the time, but had to pay rent for the premises. Her school was a weekly one,  with no income received during vacations. Her mother had been an invalid in a chair for past 6 years, had contracted influenza and had to be nursed at home. Also her brother had returned home "a complete wreck" after two and a half years service.  He received a pension of only 7/6 per week.  She had had a nervous breakdown and for six weeks was unable to teach, due to a severe attack of pneumatic flu.


"The past year has been disastrous. I am the only member of the family earning".


A further letter with a black border dated 2 Jan 1920, from Miss de Kock stated that since receiving last letter "my poor brother has succumbed to the effects of gas and exposure abroad". She asked for twelve months respite to get back on her feet. (VPRS 10300 Unit 4 School No 209)


Albert's service record does not indicate that he had suffered from a gas attack - it seems more probable that he died from pneumonic influenza on top of debilitated health from his overseas service.  


Somehow she remained in business, though the Education Department pursued her relentlessly to improve the standard of her schoolrooms.


Antoinette (Netta) and her husband Henry William Guest, a newsagent, continued to live in close proximity to Margeurite and their mother.  Margeurite appears to have continued her school for many years at 75 Eastwood Street, but the school's name was finally removed from the register in 1946.  From around 1937 Netta and Henry lived at 79 Eastwood Street.



War Service Commemorated

Essendon Gazette Roll of Honour With the Colours




DE KOCK -On the 20th December, 1920 at his re
sidence, 75 Eastwood street Kensington, Albert John
(late 5th Battalion AIF), dearly loved only son of
Mary J and the late Frederick de Kock, loved brother
of Marguerite and Netta (Mrs. H Guest) R I P
(Private interment )   No flowers by request.

DE KOCK -A token of love and esteem to our  
dear brother, Albert John de Kock (late 5th Bat
talion AIF) who departed this life at his residence,
75 Eastwood street, Kensington, on  
December 20 1919.
Yes, he's gone, but sweetly sleeps  
Where none need anxious vigil keep    
His craft has reached the heavenly-shore,    
Where sickness cannot waste him more,
Safe folded on his Saviour's breast,    
He passed into eternal rest  
God's will be done  
-(H and N Guest, Newmarket )

The Argus 22 December 1919



In Memoriam


DE KOCK. In loving memory of our dearly loved
only son. Albert John De Kock, late 5th Battalion,
A.I.F., who died on December 20, 1919, at 75
Eastwood street. Kensington. (Inserted by his
loving mother and sister, M. J. and M. C. De

DE KOCK. In loving memory of our dearly loved
only brother, Private Albert John de Kock, late 5th
Batt.. A.I.F., who died at his residence, 75
Eastwood street, Kensington, December 20,
1919. (Inserted by his loving sister and brother

-in-law, N. and H. W. Guest, Newmarket.)
The Argus 20 December 1920


No further notices to 1923.

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